Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Kwon Alexander will be facing a four-game suspension for an apparent violation of the league's performance-enhancing drugs (PED) policy. A source claimed that the rookie linebacker tested positive for PED while in training camp, according to a report by the Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman.
The Buccaneers are not expected to get the letter from the NFL announcing the suspension until Monday, so Alexander can play for his team against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The 21-year-old linebacker said that he is appealing the decision and will push through with his scheduled games until the appeal is addressed.
Alexander also mentioned that he assumes responsibility for not checking with the trainers before taking an "energy drink" that he is supposedly taking since high school. The league's collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) maintains that a mandatory penalty for first-time offenders of the PED policy is a four-game suspension. However, a player can choose to appeal the penalty.
The 6-foot-1 Alexander was a fourth-round draft pick and Tampa Bay's second-leading tackler with 63. For this season, he delivered two sacks and two interceptions. Alexander made headlines recently when he participated with a heavy heart in a game that was won by the Buccaneers against the Atlanta Falcons on November 1－less than two days after his teenage brother was murdered.
"It's my fault. I've never been in any trouble or anything. It's very disappointing. I'm really disappointed in myself. All they kept saying is if you're about to drink something, ask somebody first," Alexander said in a statement. "I'm very disappointed in myself, and I hold myself accountable. If I get suspended, I'm going to come back even stronger," he added.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have Vincent Jackson back in the lineup on Sunday as they face the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The wide receiver plays for the first time since sustaining a knee injury during week six, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Jackson has not been very productive this year as he has only caught 21 out of the 41 passes thrown his way for 319 yards and two touchdowns. He is second on the team behind fellow wide receiver Mike Evans, who had 662 yards. Because of the injury he suffered, he missed his last three games. On Friday, the team listed him as questionable in its official injury report but was apparently active for their Sunday's match against Philadelphia.
Furthermore, Schefter also reports that unlike Jackson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins will not be able to participate in the said game that will extend his absence to eight games. The tight end had already practiced with his teammates on a limited basis for weeks, but the club has not cleared him for contact just yet.